People First

2022 ASHRAE David C.J. Peters Scholarship Winner

Alexandra Michaelby Alexandra MichaelJun. 7, 2022

I aspire to improve the energy efficiency of systems in our industry. I believe that there can be major improvements of the energy consumption of our communities with the proper design and engineering of building systems. 

As a former senior vice president at Southland Industries, Dave Peters was one of Southland's greatest contributors — not only with his technical innovations, but also with his passion for recruiting talented engineering students. After Dave passed away in 2011, the ASHRAE David C.J. Peters Scholarship was created to honor his accomplishments and dedication to rising young engineers. For several years, this scholarship has been awarded to some of the industry's most promising engineering students.

This year, we had two scholarship winners, including Jillian Dlouhy, a third-year architectural engineering student at the University of Nebraska.


How did you become interested in the construction industry?

[JD] I progressively became more interested in the construction industry after observing projects I built in my community. My interest first started as our housing district developed and evolved as I noticed construction of community centers, office buildings, etc. in my area. In general, I've held an interest in engineering for a long time and believe that was formed by watching the construction process in my area.

What activities and/or associations are you involved in at school?

[JD] I currently serve as the president of the Architectural Engineering Student Leadership and Advisory Committee (AESLAC), the treasurer for our local ASHRAE student chapter, and I am a student representative on the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) board.

What are your favorite hobbies outside of school?

[JD] Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with friends, weightlifting, and reading. I also enjoy going camping with my family and spending time outdoors when I can.

What is your dream job?

[JD] While I cannot specifically say what my dream job would be, I aspire to be in a position where I can design infrastructure that greatly aids my community. I have been able to create so many notable memories in local facilities, so in the future, I aspire to design and develop facilities that best support my community.

Who is your greatest influence?

[JD] I would consider my older sister one of my greatest influences. Growing up, she always set the bar high and did a wonderful job of pushing me to become my best self. I am grateful that she set an excellent example and pushed me to strive towards my own aspirations.

What is the first thing you ever designed?

[JD] The first building that I ever modeled was my own house, and funny enough, it was during a week that I was home sick from school. I was home sick with influenza for the week and got bored of whatever was on TV, so I decided that it would be a great idea to model my house in Revit. This was my first exposure to engineering design and truly sparked my interest to explore the engineering field.

What are your goals to contribute to, shape, or change this industry?

[JD] I aspire to improve the energy efficiency of systems in our industry. I believe that there can be major improvements of the energy consumption of our communities with the proper design and engineering of building systems.

What has excited you the most about the engineering field?

[JD] Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the engineering process from both the university and industry perspectives. I've had the opportunity to learn an overview of these systems, meet many industry professionals, go on numerous site visits, and work with a team of experienced engineers. In general, the diverse exposure to the engineering process has fueled my interest in the engineering field.

What skills would you say are important for an engineer to have?

[JD] It is important for engineers to have strong communication and collaboration skills. As an engineer, you majorly work in a team environment on projects that extend over a long period of time. Therefore, it is important to learn how to effectively work with your team, other consultants, and the client to produce the best solution.

What new engineering skill have you acquired in the last year?

[JD] In the last year, I have been able to develop my teamwork skills as well as modeling skills in Revit and AutoCAD. I have had the incredible opportunity to work with a team of experienced engineers on a wide variety of projects. These individuals have already taught me a lot about the engineering design and construction process and have specifically helped me develop my modeling skills. I am excited to see what I learn from them in the future.